Category Archives: Life

The Gate – A Short Story

It came for her in the shower.

The quickening in her womb could not keep pace with the quickening of her heart as, her back against the wall, she felt him enter her.

Semen and water. Running down, down, and out. Down her thighs, down the drain, and out of her life.

Life…

This was how it started, she thought, saying nothing. Seeing nothing. One hand on her ever-expanding middle. The other against the back of his neck. Old habits die hard.

Determined to give as good as she got, she opened her eyes.

Lips puckered for kissing, her mouth expanded into a silent scream as, through the steam, she saw it.

He did not.

Screaming for a very different reason, he never felt the alien’s mouth enter the back of his skull and exit through his own.

“I love your big brain!” she said yesterday.

Today, she felt that big brain, and bits of little bone, hit her in the face, along with pieces of broken glass, as her headless husband dropped.

In shock, she ceased feeling the water against her skin. But she was all too aware of her water against her skin. Feeling the baby kick, she knew that more than a shower door had broken…

Wet and black, the alien’s tail slid up her leg, higher and higher, until it took the place of her husband’s penis.

Inexplicably thinking of her last meal, she imagined the alien lifting. Lifting her baby out of her womb like he was soup in a ladle.

But if the alien’s tail is a ladle, and my son is soup, I’m the tureen.

The ship’s tureen was made of metal.

Metal was strong.

And so was she.

Snatching a piece of broken glass off the floor, ignoring the pain as it dug into her palm, she become one with her husband one more time as, their blood mingling, she kicked off from the wall, aiming for the alien’s face.

Her aim was true.

Biting back a scream as the alien’s acid blood ran down her arm, she ran past it, slipping on the floor before she could get clear.

The baby!

The floor rushing to meet her, she threw out her hands, breaking her fall at the last second. Then she was out.

Naked and alone, the blood-red emergency lights were her guardian angels. Heed them, and she would find salvation.

The smack of her wet feet on metal echoed into the silence as she ran and ran and ran.

She ran until, doubling over to suck in breath, she swore that the only thing left inside her was, judging by a second kick, fighting to get out.

But: She now stood before the pearly gates.

Judgement Day.

Her hand leaving a red smear as she opened one and looked longingly at the other, she had enough time to wonder How long? before she did not have to wonder anymore.

Hot on her heels, it had come.

Inexorable. Not invincible.

As she proved as, careening past her in its blind, furious hunger, she pressed a button before its eyeless face saw the error of its ways, sealing it behind one pearly gate and in front of a second.

The second pearly gate opening, naked and alone is how the alien faced the cold vacuum of space as it was sucked out the airlock.

Her cry of joy froze in her throat, turning into a scream of pain as, sitting on the floor, she opened a third gate.

This gate had no pearls.

She was, after all, a modest woman.

Thank you for reading.

This short story was inspired by fellow blogger Soul Healing. Thank you for discussing Defiance with me. 🙂

Thank you, George R.R. Martin. The scene of the woman breaking her fall in order to protect her baby was inspired by a scene in A Game of Thrones where (SPOILER) Daenarys is attacked by Khal Drogo’s bloodriders while trying to save his life.

This short story is a different take on the shower scene in Alien: Covenant (2017).

Thank you, Ridley Scott, for the “Alien” series.

13 Reasons Why: How To Talk About Suicide?

Recently, a study came out showing that 13 Reasons Why was potentially responsible for an increase in suicidal thoughts:

’13 Reasons Why’ may have lead to spike in suicidal thoughts

13 Reasons Why

Which caused me to think about Kate’s suicide in Life Is Strange.

Even though the scene goes against the World Health Organization’s guidelines for portraying suicide — i.e., don’t show the suicide attempt (don’t show Kate going through with it) — the reason I myself am OK with that, is this:

People have the chance to prevent Kate’s death.

There’s nothing stopping a person from replaying the scene with Kate on the roof until they get the outcome they want.

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Which is why I believe that, when it comes to portraying heavy issues like suicide, episodic games like Life Is Strange are better at it than television series like 13 Reasons Why because, ultimately, the choices a character makes, and how characters respond to those choices, are up to the viewer/player, not up to a writer who could have a different interpretation than you of the story you’re experiencing:

From the very beginning, I agreed that we should depict the suicide with as much detail and accuracy as possible. I even argued for it—relating the story of my own suicide attempt to the other writers.
Nic Sheff

To an extent not possible with a Netflix series, an episodic video game’s story is only as harmful as the person experiencing that story allows it to be.

For example: Want to send the message that, when it comes to suicide, it is not others, but the suicidal person themselves, who is responsible for their actions?* Don’t wait for anyone else to say so; send that message yourself by pressing Square:

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*Where the show romanticizes the aftermath of suicide, it also blames everyone in Hannah’s life.
How ’13 Reasons Why’ gets suicide wrong

10-Word Story: Self-Love

Exploring myself with curious fingers, I ask: Are you enough?

Thank you to the beautiful woman who made this picture possible.

And thank you to Love Alchemical. This piece of writing is inspired by a post on her blog, and the thought-provoking conversation we had as a result of that post:

Catholic In The 21st Century (CIC): A thought-provoking poem.

I think everyone can relate to the desire to explore themselves — to probe regions of their body with curious fingers.

However, when that happens, I feel like something is lost.

If you and you alone are the one pleasuring yourself, what does that mean for the man (or woman) who is your partner?

It seems like pleasuring oneself drives a wedge between lovers; if the one loving you *is* you, than the love-making aspect of your relationship with this person will suffer.

Love Alechemical (LA)Thank you for reading. Great comment and question. I agree with something being lost in a partnership though this is written from the perspective of not having a partner or rather the desire to have a partner and pleasuring oneself in the waiting space. I imagine in a partnership this type of indulgence can play out in voyeuristic fashion as foreplay if you will, in hopes that nothing is lost 🙂

CICYou’re welcome. I’m glad you liked what I said.

Thank you for explaining the context of the post; the post being written from the perspective of someone who’s not in a relationship, but who is trying to make the most of waiting.

And I agree: Couples can mix things up in order to ensure that, when it comes to their intimate encounters, nothing is lost.

The reason I said what I said earlier is: Love-making is something that should never lose its joy and wonder. And I feel like there is a risk of that happening if, as a result of pleasuring oneself, experiencing pleasure becomes as routine and commonplace as, for example, scratching an itch.

LAI appreciate your desire to bring clarity to your message. It makes sense and I agree wholeheartedly.

CIC“I appreciate your desire to bring clarity to your message.”

I’m glad my message came across clearly. That’s what I strive for in everything I write: Clarity.

I won’t always agree with everything that a person says, but I do my best to express my disagreement in a way that keeps the conversation going and doesn’t shut it down.

I believe there’s a lot of conflict that stems from a refusal to communicate or clarify.

“It makes sense and I agree wholeheartedly.”

I’m glad.

And same here. I believe I understand why you’re saying what you’re saying, and agree with it.

LAYou’re kind. I love communications and other viewpoints; believe being open to perspectives is what grows us, keeps us open to considering truths we may be blind to, especially in these type of platforms 🙂

CIC“You’re kind.”

Thank you. 🙂

I do my best to always be kind.

“I love communications and other viewpoints…”

Me too.

“…believe being open to perspectives is what grows us, keeps us open to considering truths we may be blind to, especially in these type of platforms…”

I agree.

Thank you for communicating with me.

I’m enjoying the conversations we’re having.

I look forward to more of them. 🙂

LAThank you – Same here 🙂

CICYou’re welcome. 🙂

10-Word Story: Vulnerable

Mental or physical; emotional or linen; she has no walls.

Woman 7

Thank you to the beautiful woman whose photo inspired this piece of writing.

And thank you to Love Alchemical for a conversation we had recently that helped me to understand myself better:

Catholic In The 21st Century (CIC): There’s something about nudity that fascinates me. Through my writing, I hope I can figure out what it is. … …there is a sense of freedom to being naked that one can’t get any other way.

When one is naked, all that they physically are is exposed for all to see: There are no barriers of any kind (like clothes) to hide behind.

And I guess I’ve been looking for freedom in my own life lately. At times I’ve felt trapped. Confined. And I’ve wished I could “take off” my regret, anger, and fear as easily as a person takes off their underwear.

I apologize if this all sounds weird. I’m just thinking out loud.

Love Alchemical (LA)Thank you for sharing. The sense of confinement and desire for freedom resonates and easily correlates to being in our most natural state. You’re not alone 🙂

CIC:  You’re welcome.

And thank you for reading.

You’re right: “…desire for freedom resonates and easily correlates to being in our most natural state.”

It means a lot to know that I’m not alone.

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What Is “Hate”?

Question:

If you:

1. Believed in the existence of the soul.
2. Believed in the existence of Heaven and Hell.
3. Believed that the body doesn’t last forever, but the soul does.
4. Believed that sin causes a soul to end up in Hell.
5. Believed that homosexual acts are a sin.

Than what would be the bigger act of hate?

To 1) Hide your beliefs from another, saying that there is no danger in homosexual acts?

Or 2) Tell the person that homosexual acts put their soul in danger?

My point being: Can we please move beyond calling people who oppose gay marriage “hateful”?

If I really hated you, than I would tell you that, when it comes to what two men or two women do behind closed doors, there is no danger of any kind.

A Response To “I love being naked!”

Note: The language in this post could be called “Explicit” so reader discretion is advised.

As followers of my blog know, I write about nudity. For example:

Nudity was reserved for the bedroom or the bathroom. So it was… interesting… to be naked in a room that was neither. Walking around the living room, I felt like I was seeing it with new eyes. I felt like, all my life, I had been wearing a “Clothes Filter,” and now the filter was off. My eyes were as naked as my body.
~Being Naked Outside

Because of my Catholic faith, I don’t want to shy away from subjects like nudity. As a Catholic, I’m supposed to be a light in a dark place:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
~Matthew 5:14 — 16

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And that means talking about subjects considered by many to be taboo or indecent.

Which brings me to a blog I discovered weeks ago but, for the longest time, was not sure how to feel about. Until now.

Specifically, I’m talking about this blog post: I love being naked!

Below are excerpts from that post, and my thoughts on them:

…it’s such an awesome feeling. Having nothing touching your skin. Being able to touch anything you wanna touch, with nothing in the way. It’s looooove.

I understand. And I agree.

Being naked can be an awesome feeling. It can be nice to have nothing touching your skin. To be completely free.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
~Genesis 1:31

“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
~Genesis 2:25

It’s so sexy! Cuz that’s obviously what it’s all about. Being naked turns me on. Like big time. It makes me wanna touch myself all over all the time. And sometimes I do.

Once again: Perfectly understandable.

When you are naked, not only are you showing all of yourself, your body is preparing to give all of itself.

What do I mean? I mean this: Sex is an act of giving. The woman receives the man. The man enters the woman. The two become one.

“…a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
~Genesis 2:24

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That’s why you want to sexually excite yourself when you’re naked: Your naked body is telling you “It’s time for sex.”

…I can get myself so increeeeeeeedibly turned on I can barely get myself to stop being naked any more.

There’s an old saying: “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.”

I don’t say that to come across as the stereotypical religious scold…

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…I say that to tell you, belle noowelleDon’t allow your nudity to become too much of a good thing.

There could come a day when you regret the choice to be naked.

And I don’t want that day to come.

I want being naked to be something that changes your life for the better in ways that you continue to discover throughout your long and happy life.

I know that might sound corny, but it’s true. I want you to be happy, belle noowelle.

Being naked is so cool. It helps with getting naughty, it makes me feel sexy, and it makes lame Sundays so much more interesting. Try it!

belle noowelle, your honesty and openness is attractive.

You don’t have to be naked to come across as sexy. You are sexy by just being your unashamed and positive self.

What I’m trying to say is: You’ve found something that brings you joy, and you want to share that joy with others, so that they may have what you have. And, to me, there is nothing more beautiful than that.

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To conclude this post:

belle noowelle,

May being naked continue to bring you a feeling of freedom.

May your orgasms always be shattering.

May the people in your life always look beyond your naked body, appreciating your naked soul, too.

And, when all is said and done, may you look back on the life you have lived with no regrets, knowing that all the choices you made ultimately brought you to where you wanted to be, even if you didn’t know where it was that you wanted to be.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…”
~Ecclesiastes 3:11

~21stCenturyCatholic

Why I Have Mixed Feelings About “Life Is Strange: Before The Storm”

Life Is Strange (2015) is my favorite video game, and one of my favorite stories, ever.

So when a prequel —  Life Is Strange: Before The Storm — was announced at E3 2017…

…a part of me screamed “Yes!” while another part moaned “No!”

Why?

Well, as Cracked put it: The past was more interesting before we saw it happen.

When a magician hears the audience gasp and say, “How’d he do that?” he does not turn around and loudly announce, “Oh, the rabbit’s in my assistant’s ass.” Similarly, professional writers know that there are some questions that their audience doesn’t want answered, even though they think they do. Like a magician, a writer wants his audience to live in that space between knowing and wanting to know. That’s what keeps them coming back for more.

Having watched the trailer three times, my feelings towards it are more positive than they were on my first watch. For example: Before The Storm seems to be delving into Chloe’s psyche through the use of nightmares — Chloe dreams she is in the car on the day of her dad’s accident — like Life Is Strange did with Max near the end of Episode 5. (Max’s nightmare being one of my favorite sections of that game.) But… but…

sigh

You know the airport fight in Godzilla (2014)? The fight that you never saw happen?

Here’s why I’m ultimately glad Gareth Edwards cut away right before Godzilla and the MUTO went at it: The fight I imagine will  be superior to the fight I see.

And it’s the same with Before The Storm: The story I imagine will be superior to the story I see.

Another aspect of Before The Storm that has me thinking Don’t do that is the crow imagery:

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Depending on who you talk to, crows are considered bad luck. And Chloe, to put it lightly, could be called unlucky.

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The crow imagery reminds me of the Chosen One prophecy in the “Star Wars” prequels.

Thanks to the prequels, now in Return of the Jedi the Emperor’s death isn’t the result of Darth Vader choosing to save his son’s life — it’s the fulfillment of a prophecy.

The crow imagery has the potential to change Chloe’s death in Life Is Strange from a tragic accident…

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…to the cruel, calculated machinations of the universe: The universe has it out for Chloe, and won’t stop until she loses everything — her dad, her best friend and, finally, her life.

Which would make sense, given what we hear in Life Is Strange:

Image result for life is strange chloe punished by the universe

But still: I would rather have Chloe’s death be an accident, not the fulfillment of the universe’s sadistic plan for one Arcadia Bay teen.

One reason why: Chloe’s fate being set in stone — if the crow imagery is anything to judge by — robs the “Life Is Strange” series of one of its most thought-provoking attributes: Choice.

Image result for life is strange whoever said we had a single fate

At the end of Life Is Strange, Chloe could have “forced” Max to make one choice or another by, for example, putting her step-dad’s gun to Max’s head and telling her “Don’t go back in time and allow me to die.” But she didn’t. Chloe chose to allow Max to make her own choice. Ultimately, it was free will, not fate, that killed Chloe.

Image result for life is strange final choice

Of course, all of this is just a reaction to the first trailer. I’ll have to play the game in its entirety before I have the… big picture.

Image result for life is strange max taking a picture

But I’m praying like Kate Marsh that Beyond The Storm isn’t what I fear it is.

Image result for life is strange kate marsh